A Warwickshire-based transport company celebrating a boom in business over the past year has started 2013 with 25 new vehicles in preparation for predicted ongoing growth over the coming 12 months.
Two-man delivery specialist Panther Group won £20 million worth of new contracts in 2012 and the company has spent £500,000 in the new vehicles in preparation for its bid to build on this success.
The company has invested in no less than 45 new vehicles over the past 18 months. The investment reflects the increase in demand for Panther services – predominantly from leading kitchen and bathroom suppliers as well as furniture retailers looking to take advantage of the company’s unique service offering.
The firm, based in Crick at the heart of the UK’s motorway network, is believed to be the only transport firm in the country which offers the next-day delivery from one central hub of heavy goods such as household furniture, kitchens and bathrooms.
With 100, two-man teams making up a large part of its workforce the Panther offering essentially allows online shoppers across England, Wales and as far as Lower Scotland, ordering heavy goods as late as 6.30pm to receive their items from as early as 7am the next day.
Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showed UK online shoppers spent a total of £482.9 billion in 2012 – a rise of 13 per cent over the previous year and equating to just under a fifth of all retail turnover.
The average weekly online spend in December topped £830 million – 15.5 per cent higher than in December 2011.
This consistent rise, which has been mirrored by an increase in demand for Panther services, shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. In preparation for the predicted ongoing growth Panther has replaced a number of its 140-strong fleet with a mix of Sprinter and Luton vans, which are more ideally suited to the two-man delivery model.
Colin McCarthy, Managing Director of Panther, said: “The vast majority of our business comes from the B2C market and almost without exception we are delivering to consumers who have ordered their goods online.
“As the majority of our work nowadays consists of the transportation of heavy and often fragile goods, these vehicles are more suited to our needs than our old fleet. They enable our two-man delivery teams to carry out their daily duties more quickly, more efficiently and with drastically reduced risk of damage to the goods.”
He added: “We are looking forward to another busy year in 2013 and the investment we have made in these vehicles is just one of a series of steps we have undertaken to prepare us for the ongoing increased demand.”